WTF is Daydream? Google's big Android VR push, explained

How good will it be?

Well, it's not going to blow the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive out of the water. Those headsets require a high-end PC and use premium, built-in components to deliver incredible VR experiences. Even with a flagship phone like the PIxel, you'll probably spend half as much money on a full Daydream setup than you'd need to on either of those headsets along with a capable PC.

It looks like performance will be along the lines of what's possible on the Gear VR. That means not anywhere near as immersive as the Rift or Vive, but a massive leap ahead of Cardboard. And treated as an affordable add-on to your smartphone, the headset looks to be well worth the £69 (RM365) outlay.

Anything else I should know?

A special VR mode has been built into Android Nougat that allows for notifications to come through properly in your 360-degree experience, so you're not completely sealed off from the world.

And thanks to Nougat's support of the Vulkan graphics API, we should get even better game visuals as developers that don't taxing the phone too hard. In other words, the games should run very well without making the phones super-hot to the touch or fogging up your lenses.

If you're not a fan of the Daydream View's 'slate' colour, you'll also be pleased to know that it will be coming in 'snow' and 'crimson' varieties later in the year for the same price of £69. So if you know someone who's pre-ordered a Pixel and has a penchant for crimson jumpers, that's Christmas sorted.

What's coming next for Daydream?

Google's Daydream View might be the platform's first headset, but it'll be far from the last. 

Lots of manufacturers have signed up: Samsung is one of them, surprisingly, even though it will continue to support the Gear VR. And other companies already committed include LG, HTC, Huawei, Asus, Alcatel, ZTE, and Mi. Each will build a phone to Google's specifications and then likely release their own headset and controller combo, as well.

Because Daydream support is built right into Android Nougat, it should be easy for app and game makers to expand their typical touchscreen experiences into the virtual realm. Google reckons it'll have 50 partners by the end of the year, and it seems likely that a lot of existing Gear VR content will make its way over as well. Don't be surprised to see games like MinecraftLand's End, and Hitman Go: VR Edition lead the pack.

 
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